Meet Lucy Gallagher

by Lydia Linton Pontius (August 2013)

Lucy Gallagher

I first met Lucy many, many years ago when we both were working with CEA. Since then both our lives have taken several new directions but always our paths keep crossing. Meet this interesting woman and learn more about what she does and how she got there.

What brought you to Mexico? And tell us a little about your background.

My very first trip to the Riviera Maya was in 1997. I had just finished a stint working on a marine conservation project in Belize and decided to travel up to Playa del Carmen with a few friends and fell in love with the town! I So I made the trip back in the summer of 1998 to work as a divemaster at one of the very first dive schools in Playa del Carmen.

I eventually returned to the UK to complete a couple of Masters degrees—one in Environmental Economics and the other in Tropical Coastal Management—which enabled me to come back to Mexico from 2002 to 2004 to set up and participate in various environmental projects in Cancun, Mahahual , Xcalak and Punta Allen. I eventually settled in Akumal in 2004 where I set up the Marine and Coastal Protection program for CEA and that is when we first met.

Lucy Gallagher
On cooking duty on a marine expedition; our oven was a hole in the ground in the jungle!

Tell us a little about your businesses and how you got started.

After CEA, I founded Mexiconservacion, an environmental non-profit organization with two of my CEA colleagues. We opened an office in Tulum and one of the recurring enquiries from visitors was “Where do I get biodegradable sunscreen or mosquito repellent?" I knew various providers of biodegradable, handmade, Fair Trade products in Merida and started distributing their products via Mexiconservacion. As the demand for these products increased, I eventually set up the Think Organik (also known as Organicamente) store in Tulum. Two years later, we moved to Puerto Aventuras and the store grew into a SPA as well.

Lucy Gallagher
The Think Organik Boutique and SPA reception area

Via the SPA we would often be called to wedding functions for massages, manicures and pedicures. On one occasion, I was asked to help with all the logistics of the event, and this was my first introduction to wedding planning. It was a fabulous experience and, as a consequence, I was asked to help plan several others and decided to set up Yucatan Weddings.

Do you have any advice for expats who are thinking of moving to Mexico and want to start a business?

Living in paradise has its costs: Get ready to work long hours for sometimes very little in return! Many expats get frustrated with the bureaucracy involved in living and owning a business in Mexico but get a good accountant and lawyer and save yourself the headaches. We live here because we have a great quality of life. I have a very active 3-year-old son and he essentially lives outdoors. We go to the beach, cycle, swim, play soccer, run for miles around the Puerto Aventuras golf course … the perfect life for a little boy!

What makes your wedding planning different from others?

I have worked with most people collaborating with Yucatan Weddings for years. We will not be outsourcing much, which means if you turn up out of the blue at Think Organik, you will probably meet our highly inspirational and professional team including the wedding coordinator, cake maker, caterer, decorator and, of course, the hair and nail girls all at once, as they are usually all there helping with various aspects of the business. So come and visit us, and we will make sure to cater to all your needs over a cup of tea and a cupcake!